#1 Posted by TimFReilly (98 posts) -

My fiancé and I want to go to Japan for our honeymoon, but we're clueless as to where in Japan we should aim to visit. I know we'd like to see the sights and check out some traditional Japanese stuff, whether in the city or in a more rural area. I'd also kinda like to see one or two cool videogame-related things that are relatively tourist/wandering friendly. Anyone have any tips, places, cities, etc that they could recommend?

#3 Posted by SathingtonWaltz (2053 posts) -

I wouldn't recommend it, Japan isn't particularly welcoming to foreigners, at least not when I went. I experienced more racism in Japan than I have in my entire life in the south.

#4 Edited by McGhee (6094 posts) -

Well this thread started off really nice.

I've never been to Japan but when I go I'm planning on mostly visiting different dojo, practicing Aikido and eating as much awesome food as I can find.

#5 Edited by rickwilliams (32 posts) -

@timfreilly: Well, I've been in Kyoto for nearly nine months now (study abroad.) Kyoto has more history and culture than you can ever see in just one trip (or even living there for nine months) and is all in all an incredibly friendly, polite, and very different city than any western cities. Having said that, aside from Nintendo HQ here (which is of course closed and not accessible) there's not really any specifically gamey stuff here that I know of. What kind of game stuff are you looking for?

#6 Edited by Nonused (211 posts) -

Tell them I sent you. They'll know what to do.

#7 Posted by aerious (124 posts) -

There's a whole lot to do all around Japan. If you're looking for a good wandering historical/romantic city Kyoto is perfect. From there you could catch a train to any number of places. Spend the night at a secluded Ryokan with a private onsen (hot spring bath). Go to Den Den town in Osaka and Shibuya / Akihabara in Tokyo. Go to a baseball game. Go snorkelling in Okinawa. Go skiing in Nagano if that's your thing. Go see Sumo.

#8 Posted by Noitwont (40 posts) -

I would actually have to say that my experience was the opposite of what SathingtonWaltz posted. I planned A birthday trip to Tokyo for my wife and I. Japanese people were some of the most kind and welcoming people that I have ever encountered in my travels. Countless times I would be standing around looking at a map and a Japanese person would come up to me out of nowhere to ask if I needed directions. With that being said I spent my vacation in Tokyo, and I can't speak for other parts of Japan. If you are going to Tokyo the best thing you can do is research and LEARN THAT SUBWAY SYSTEM! No, really. Learn it. Other than that just figure out what kinds of things you want to see (museums, historical sites, night life, ect) and do plenty of research and planning. Tokyo is fantastic! I am not sure what kind of video game things you are looking for but there is a lot of it in Tokyo. Plenty of arcades as well. If you like fighting games there is Taito Station in Shinjuku. I love fighting games and I happened to go right as the big SBO tournament was going on and got to watch/play against a ton of big Japanese players that I wouldn't have had the chance to play otherwise. Again, just learn how to get around that subway system so you can relax and enjoy Tokyo (if that is even where you end up going).

#9 Edited by audioBusting (1477 posts) -

@rickwilliams said:

@timfreilly: Well, I've been in Kyoto for nearly nine months now (study abroad.) Kyoto has more history and culture than you can ever see in just one trip (or even living there for nine months) and is all in all an incredibly friendly, polite, and very different city than any western cities. Having said that, aside from Nintendo HQ here (which is of course closed and not accessible) there's not really any specifically gamey stuff here that I know of. What kind of game stuff are you looking for?

Seconding this, I studied in Kyoto for a few months and it was wonderful! It's very tourist-friendly as well; they give out tourist maps at the train station and it's not easy to get lost since it has good public transportation. I recommend going to the Toei Studio Park there. It's an Edo period film set/theme park and it's really cheesy, but good fun. If I recall correctly, Z-targeting in Ocarina of Time was inspired by a ninja show in that park!

edit: Almost forgot, it would be a good idea to get a Japan Rail Pass. It's a bus/train ticket that you can use as much as you want, but it's restricted to tourists. You can even get on the Shinkansen with it, since it's JR.

#10 Edited by OllyOxenFree (4970 posts) -

Super Brotato.

#11 Edited by super2j (1653 posts) -

I swear to god I misread your comment the first time like this. my eyes did a double take.

How about one of the 1000's of wwii museums and memorials commemorating the most hilarious US attack ever orchestrated?

#12 Posted by yakov456 (1899 posts) -

Nara is quite nice, like a concentrated version of Kyoto. Plus you can pet all the deer you want!

#13 Posted by bibamatt (1086 posts) -

We're in the same boat! We're planning a honeymoon in Japan and I'm currently in the planning stages. Don't have any advice yet (as I've never been) but wanted to join in the excitement. For both Japan and, obviously, honeymoons.

#14 Edited by Laiv162560asse (487 posts) -

Kyoto is a wonderful city and I love it, but in a way it feels like a somewhat... standardised experience. It's packed with lovely sights and is well worth seeing for Kiyomizu temple, Higashiyama, Gion, Pontocho district as well as some of the more obscure tourist gems, but if you're going on your honeymoon I wonder if you'd get a more unique, cosy 'olde Japan' experience from visiting somewhere further west in the country, like somewhere rustic in Kyushu? Apparently there are some gorgeous little onsen (hot springs) and ryokan (inns) tucked away out of sight of the typical tourist traffic. I've personally never been to Kyushu so I wouldn't know what to recommend, but that's something for you to decide - also you may struggle more with language problems the further off the beaten path you travel. For your first visit to Japan, Kyoto might be ideal, I don't know.

Since it's your honeymoon, if you do go to Kyoto, at least make sure to burn through a heap of money having a posh meal somewhere exclusive in Pontocho, Gion, or somewhere overlooking the Kamo river in the evening. Also check this site for everything going on in Kyoto during the month of your stay or google 'Kyoto festivals' since there are a few big ones that are nice to catch.

You'll very likely want to look into getting a Japan Rail Pass, which is invaluable if you're going to cover a lot of ground. You have to purchase it before you arrive in Japan.

For planning I would recommend you buy a Lonely Planet Guidebook (or maybe there's an app nowadays?). Mine never left my pocket and was invaluable no matter where I was in Japan. Check Trip Advisor's main site for hotel, inn and restaurant reviews, or their forums for region specific recommendations from fellow travellers (the forums for different Japanese regions are available through the pull down menu). You might be able to get a whole honeymoon itinerary recommended to you.

This site is also a good resource for checking hotels and ryokan.

Be aware that rainy season in Japan runs from mid June to July (wikipedia says 'approximately June 7 to July 20'). Also summer in general can be a real bitch. I've had to walk about in temperatures of around 40C in Tokyo and Kyoto.

Finally, since I'm a big sumo fan I'll just add that the sumo runs May 12-26 and Sept 15-29 in Tokyo, July 7-21 in Nagoya and Nov 10-24 in Fukuoka (Kyushu). There are also January and March tournaments if you're planning for next year, as well as smaller exhibition tours around the country although they are hard to catch. Check the official Sumo Association site for info and ticket buying.

#15 Posted by YoungFrey (1321 posts) -

I second @Laivasse about the Japan Rail Pass. It is a huge bargain You'll have a great time and see amazing things anywhere you go. So I recommend going off the beaten path. For example, instead of going to Akihabara, make a trip down to Osaka (which has a noticeably different culture than Tokyo) and hit Denden Town.

My biggest advice when dealing with people who don't speak English well: write stuff out. Most Japanese read English way better than they speak it. This can really help with taxis. And at restaurants, just point at the food you want in the front window. The hostess will ensure everything is taken care of.

#16 Posted by TimFReilly (98 posts) -

Thanks for all the awesome feedback! Keep it up! I knew GB would be good for this kind of info.

#17 Edited by NoMoreMutants (57 posts) -

Try and go to a nice onsen wherever you end up, they're a great experience! Sweets Paradise is a great chain of cake buffets, there's at least one in Tokyo and they're really fun and delicious! If you're into Final Fantasy at all, the Square store in Tokyo is something you might like, I haven't been to the new one but the old one was great and I've heard good things about the new location.

#18 Posted by Fattony12000 (7053 posts) -

I've been planning a trip to Nippon for about a decade now. I hope I get to go before I die.

#19 Edited by Metal_Mills (2980 posts) -

I went to Osaka for 5 days and LOVED it. Super wasy to get around, nice, lots to do, and Kyoto isn't far away.

#20 Edited by Arkasai (701 posts) -

If you want a good place to wander around for an afternoon in Tokyo you can go to the amusement park on Odaiba. It's an artificial island that used to be a cannon battery defending Tokyo harbor but now it's loaded with shops and a Sega theme park called Joypolis. Also hit up the department stores/arcades in Akihabara, each floor will blow your mind. I remember Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa being very impressive, great statues and Tori (those big red gateways.) You'll probably end up in Harajuku at some point, make sure you see the Togo shrine while you're there, it's so quiet and peaceful compared to the surrounding area.

#21 Edited by InfiniteStateMachine (215 posts) -

The nice thing about being in the Kansai area is it's a short travel to Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Wakayama and Kobe. No more than a couple hours max. Usually much less.

I go to Kyoto about once every 2 weeks and alternate with Osaka. Ton of stuff to do in both cities.

#22 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

How about one of the 1000's of wwii museums and memorials commemorating the most heinous US attack every orchestrated?

Misread as "wii museums." Hijinks ensued.

#23 Posted by Mocca_Bear (60 posts) -
#24 Edited by rickwilliams (32 posts) -

Is that Kansai Gaidai? No, Doshisha.

#25 Posted by Mocca_Bear (60 posts) -

@rickwilliams Kyoto Gaidai for me, saw Kyoto and I immediately thought back of my old 留学生-days. Would have been a coincidence though :)